Eye on the Runway: Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2013

It’s remarkable to see a designer evolve, especially when his or her growth unfolds with the catalytic physicality of, say, temporal (not fashion’s) seasonal turnover. It’s that morning where you wake up and are somehow acutely aware of a paradigm shift, with spring’s lukewarm days overnighting into summer’s color-strewn skies. Perhaps it’s an embellished metaphor, but given Prabal Gurung’s output as of late, the development therein warrants the praise.

Gurung has had a stellar 2012, with skyrocketing acclaim in both the mainstream media (dressing some of the most-watched women on the planet, namely Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton) and smaller, inevitably more critical fashion circles. There’s an innate street-meets-the-spotlight quality in Gurung’s work that has pushed him out and away from sartorial esotericism, appealing to women from Kenmare Street to Kuwait, from aspirational buying pools (hello Target) to the highest echelons of power. And he’s only getting better.

For Pre-Fall the designer references Nepal (he was raised in Kathmandu), Versace ad campaigns of yesteryear, and “Romeo + Juliet” — Baz Luhrmann style. That particular inspiration burns through on a brisk silver day dress contoured with a highlighter-blue star abstract and paired with blocked, neon-kissed booties (above, center) — aptly lensing the aesthetics of aberrant, fantastic youth. Now, sixteen years later, Claire Danes could try it all on and look just as good as she did in 1996 – indicative of that keynote Gurung agelessness.

Other highlights include a futuro-folksy mash-up theme replete with Himalayan textiles and a magnetic cascading lily motif, rich in painterly whorls. From pants to skirts to sleeves to peplums, Gurung provides silhouettes aplenty — again catering to his deep array of admirers. Moreover: red-carpets/possible inaugural balls/probable post-baby royal fêtes should get ready — someone insanely high-profile will soon wear one of his sleek, minimal columns. A feathered dress near the lineup’s end was its only misstep — other than that, and even though this is Pre-Fall, Gurung dazzles here like a solstice noon.

–Nicholas Remsen

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Images: Courtesy Prabal Gurung.